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Peeking Through the Rubble, Scanning the Aftermath

Wizards GM Ernie Grunfeld. Evidently, he's a bastard.
Wizards GM Ernie Grunfeld. Evidently, he's a bastard.

Now that the bombshells of the Trade Deadline have passed, it is time to take inventory. What happened? What didn't? How does it affect the Lakers' title defense?

While the Lakers did not make any deals at the deadline, as Mitch Kupchak believed that no good enough deal had been offered, many deals were made, with dozens of players switching teams.

Sorting through the fallout looking for the mutants, one will find only three trades that have the potential to have any significant impact on L.A. through the playoffs, and those are the Cleveland deal for Antawn Jamison and Sebastian Telfair, the Dallas deal for Caron Butler and Brendan Haywood, and the Celtics deal for Nate Robinson.

The one easily determinable conclusion from these trades is 'screw Washington', but for more detailed analysis click through the Jump.

Caron Butler, Brendan Haywood, Deshawn Stevenson to Dallas Mavericks for Josh Howard, Drew Gooden, Quinton Ross and James Singleton

This trade greatly improves the Mavericks, as it gives them a consistent second option in Caron instead of an injury-prone Josh Howard. It also greatly improves their size and post play by giving them a solid defensive-minded center in Brendan Haywood, particularly important now that Erick Dampier is out with injury. The other players Dallas receives in this deal are fillers. There is a pre-existing fanshot on this here. While the aforementioned fanshot presents an interesting idea, I still don't see Dallas as being better than Denver - I view them as more of a potential second round opponent for L.A., and this trade makes them a hell of a difficult one at that. Still, it's not too important, what I mainly hope is that they take a game from Cleveland in the regular season.

From Washington's perspective, this deal was done solely for financial reasons - they've pretty badly messed up, had a mammoth payroll and wanted to blow up the team to get under the luxury tax and start over.
The only picture I could find of the two of them together. Don't judge, it took 10 pages of Google Image Search to find.

Nate Robinson to the Boston Celtics for Eddie House

This trade is intriguing, but definitely has potential to do more harm than good. Nate Robinson is a defenite upgrade over Eddie House, and has lightning quickness and can light up the scoreboard to provide a spark for Boston's mostly mediocre bench. However, Nate cannot heat up from behind the arc to quite the extent that House could, as even Phil Jackson noted. Also, Nate has a tendency to be a ball-hog, not run the offense, and jack up shot after shot (though he can carry a team in scoring better than anyone else on that bench). In addition to offensive issues, he is an extremely undersized player and thus is at a defensive disadvantage. Crowning this all are his well-documented maturity issues, part of the reason Mike D'Antoni refused to play him in the first place. As such, I just don't see how he fits in. However, he still has the potential to light up and kickstart this time, and so should be watched.
He may be the only one on that team who can dunk

The Big Three-Eyed Fish: Antawn Jamison and Sebastian Telfair to the Cleveland Cavaliers, Zydrunas Ilgauskas and Al Thornton to Washington Wizards, and Drew Gooden to the Los Angeles Clippers

Well, well, well, Cleveland actually made a move. I thought all those rumours were exactly that, rumours. Evidently I was proven wrong. Antawn Jamison is an incedibly talented player, a 20/9 guy on the season, the clear-cut second-best player on the Cavs. Provided he is managed correctly. And bringing him off the bench in favour of J.J. Hickson isn't exactly managing him well. One may assume this is only a temporary thing, but you never know with Mike Brown. True, Jamison won the Sixth Man of the Year Award with Dallas, as the commentators during the Cavs-Nuggets game wouldn't shut up about, but that was coming off the bench behind Dirk Nowitzki, a proven All-Star at the time, not J.J.-freaking-Hickson.

Jamison himself is a good pickup as he is mature, versatile, a very good rebounder; and can shoot out to the three-point line and create shots for himself. However, Cleveland have given up size in this deal, which really was their main advantage against L.A. While Cleveland have definitely improved as a team, they have lost their primary matchup advantage against Los Angeles in that they actually had the size to contend with our frontline - and the 6'9" Antawn Jamison is far less imposing than the 7'3" Zydrunas Ilgauskas.

On the other hand, Jamison is the 'stretch 4' that Cleveland so desperately craved, a big man who could also hit outside so as to give them another shooter and more spacing, as well as being able to match up against the Lamar Odoms and Rashard Lewis's of the world.

It should be noted that the general consensus is that Z shall be bought out of his contract with the Wizards, and so free to sign with another team if he so chooses. Many believe he shall go back to Cleveland, but he must wait 30 days to do so and they can only offer him the Veteran's Minimum, while teams such as say, Dallas, have MLE and Bi-Annual Exception money to throw his way, as well as no waiting period. While the Cavs will surely be biting their nails at this prospect, I believe that Zydrunas shall go back as he is settled in Cleveland and simply has too much history with that team to not. Plus, he is on to the grey years of his career and would undoubtedly love a shot at a championship ring.

If they do get Z back, they have the best of both worlds in their size match-up advantage and a stretch four to somewhat neutralise that match-up advantage Lamar Odom gives us. That trade would indeed be more lopsided than the Pau Gasol trade, as essentially all Cleveland gave up was the rights to a second-rounder they drafted last year (who will most likely never set foot upon an NBA court) and a first-round draft pick next year (which shall most certainly be the 29th or 30th pick). Quite frankly, the concept mildly horrifies me.

Also a nice pickup in this deal for Cleveland was Sebastian Telfair, a nice talent at backup PG. While he has been a journeyman in the NBA, enough flashes of talent are there to remind you that he was once ranked the number one point guard in the country and named to the USA Today All-America High School team along with the likes of Amare Stoudemire, Carmelo Anthony and LeBron James.

Washington get even more cap relief after this deal, and succeed in blowing up their team sufficiently enough to give youngsters like Andre Blatche significant roles without worrying about payroll or wasted talent. The Clippers simply swapped one player in order to gain more cap space for next offseason.

The similarities are glaring, they could be twins.

Well, those are the trades, folks. Now all we can do is wait and see.

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